By Mudassir Raja
Most people in this region pride themselves in holding on to their traditions in the ever-changing modern world. The well-off ones in particular, tend to collect and carry traditional and cultural items of daily use popular.
Hunting is an age old tradition in the Arab world. Historically, people used to go out in the wilderness and hunt different birds and animals. Hunting knives were part and parcel of the gadgetry they used to carry while hunting. Knives are still carried by many men either for hunting purposes or ceremonially as proud item of their cultural heritage.
Exquisitely elegant, unbreakable and sharp hunting knives have come to Qatar from Pakistan this summer. A stall set up at the ongoing Summer Entertainment City (SEC) is selling some brilliant hunting knives that are fast becoming popular both among the residents and expatriates of Qatar.
The beautiful knives and daggers have come from Wazirabad, a city in Punjab, Pakistan. The city is famous for its cutlery products. The origin of Wazirabad cutlery industry can be traced back to the invasion of India by Alexander the Great. Even prior to the partition, Wazirabad was famous throughout India for its good quality cutlery products and knives.
The city was also popular during the 1880s as the local inhabitants were producing arms and ammunition of indigenous nature for the use of British Army.
“Today, there are many factories engaged in manufacturing various qualities of cutlery items, kitchenware, hunting knives, swords etc. Majority of the cutlery supplied in all major cities of Pakistan comes from the city of Wazirabad. It is also known for its quality exports in major international markets,” said Zeeshan Razik, who has set up the stall at the SEC in Doha Exhibition and Convention Center.
The trader speaks very highly about the quality and beauty of the hunting knives made in Wazirabad. “I have two set ups – one in Wazirabad and one in Islamabad. I have been exporting to different countries. I have taken the classic knives to seven countries so far.”
Zeeshan, who started exporting knives in 2009, has set up a showroom for his products in Qatar as well. “I have established partnership with a local man and set up our showroom with the name of Barakat Falcon Selling and Accessories. The products have been very popular since I first set up my stall at SEC in 2018. It was very successful and received good clientage in Qatar. It encouraged me to set up the stall again besides starting my own business here.”
Both professional hunters and common people tend to take interest in the craft of making knives with hands. “I cannot tell who are my number one buyers because I do not know who is hunting and who is not. I have witnessed both the residents and expatriates taking interest in the products both due to the quality and the beauty of the knives. I have brought the knives to Qatar because I knew Arabs like classical and traditional items. The knives are so beautiful and these can also be used as decoration pieces in drawing rooms. I have brought the knives in different sizes starting from 23cm to 1.5 foot long.”
The unique features of these hunting knives are that they are hard and sharp.
“The knives and daggers are made up of carbon steel. There are many layers on the blades of the knives. We call these knives damascus. They require a lot of hard work and great skill is needed to prepare layered knives. A majority of our knives have their handles made up of animal horns or bones. The artisans give different shapes to the horns of buffalos and bones of camels. These knives are usually heavier than the knives used in the kitchen. They become heavier due to layered steel, horns/bone handles, and other decorative material.”
Zeeshan likes visiting Qatar and sees a bright future for his business here. “I visited Qatar last year for the first time to attend SEC. I also attend the dhow show and now I am at SEC again. I have set up my own business here. People here are generally very friendly. I have visited Corniche, Souq Waqif and the Pearl. I have been enjoying my stay here and Qatar feels like home to me now.”
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